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April 7, 2006 Edition

Lucy Rose: Big on Plans, by Katy Kelly

Fans of Junie B. will enjoy getting to know Lucy Rose, who’s got a full summer ahead of her: she plans to make a lanyard, get rid of the squirrels who are eating all her grandmother’s apricots, celebrate her ninth birthday with her father, and keep her parents from getting a divorce. She doesn’t plan on meeting an absolutely horrible girl named Ashley at the Parks & Rec center who throws her other plans askew. Fortunately, she’s got her two best friends at her side. (2nd grade readers and older)

Space Station Rat, by Michael J. Daley

Jeff’s delighted to have a new friend – at least, that’s how he thinks of the person who writes the emails he’s been getting – even if that friend seems more than a little obsessed with food. As the youngest person on the space research station, Jeff’s got no one to talk to except his Nanny robot, whom he is convinced is evil. So when he finds out that his friend is a modified, super-intelligent lavender rat who has stowed away on the station, and that Rat is being hunted by the station’s robots, he’s desperate to save her. Then, something goes wrong with Nanny, and it is up to Jeff and Rat to save the station. (third grade readers and older)

Shredderman: Enemy Spy, by Wendelin Van Draanen

Nolan’s crime-fighting cyber-alter-ego, Shredderman, has made national news. And now his secret identity has been found out and Nolan is being blackmailed – not for money, but for the position as Shredderman’s sidekick, The Bouncer. The blackmailer is the last person Nolan would ever want as a sidekick, but time is running out: he’s stumbled upon a real mystery and now his parents and his favorite teacher are under arrest. Will Shredderman be forced to go public in his fourth book? (fourth-grade readers and older)

Laugh Till You Cry, by Joan Lowry Nixon

Thirteen-year-old Cody’s moved to Texas with his mother, who’s taking care of his grandmother, and he misses his friends back in California. The new school is tough, since even his cousin, who lives next door and is in Cody’s grade, doesn’t seem to like him. Things start looking up when he meets an aspiring stand-up comedian who’s also a cop – but then quickly go downhill again when someone calls a bomb threat into the school, Cody becomes the prime suspect, and all the jokes in the world won’t save him. (fifth-grade readers and older)

Code Orange, by Caroline B. Cooney

There’s a biology term paper due in two weeks and Mitty-the-slacker hasn’t even begun to think about it. But his topic gets chosen for him when he opens up an 1899 book on infectious diseases and finds an envelope marked “Scabs – VM epidemic, 1902, Boston”. Suddenly, he’s desperate to find out everything he can, starting with the meaning of VM (which turns out to be variola major, or smallpox). Asking questions online alerts terrorists to the possible presence of a smallpox carrier, and Mitty’s term paper research gets interrupted when he’s kidnapped. Will Mitty become a new biological weapon? (middle school readers and older)

Runner, by Carl Deuker

Chance is a high school senior who lives on an aging sailboat with his alcoholic father, trying to keep things together. Money is always tight, so when he’s offered a job, he jumps at it. It’s an easy job – just picking up packages that appear every so often along his running route. He tries to just be happy about the money and not think about the possible contents of the packages. Ultimately, there are no easy endings in this thought-provoking book that touches on poverty and privilege, terrorism and patriotism. (middle and high school readers)

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